Menace Beach are already making quite the name for themselves. Not only have Ryan Needham and Liza Violet drafted in the cream of Leeds’ musical crop to help out with their new musical project – the band boast members of Hookworms, Sky Larkin and Pulled Apart By Horses - they’ve made quite the mark with their warm and scuzzy brand of potent indie rock.
Now the group are planning on taking things to the next level by releasing their debut album ‘Ratworld’ early next year. Ahead of their performance at next month’s DIY All-Dayer in association with PledgeMusic, frontman Ryan Needham gives DIY an insight into just how recording their first full-length went…
You’ve just announced that you’ll release your debut album ‘Ratworld’ in January next year. How’re you looking forward to getting it out in the open?
Yeah, I’m really excited about it naturally, but I’m kind of too busy finishing all the artwork and the ton of other stuff that goes along with it to actually sit down and think about it all too much.
How long has the album been in the works? Was it’s recording a relaxed process, or a bit more pressurised?
Really relaxed. The guys at our label would deffo say [it was] too relaxed. So far for me Menace Beach has been a social thing where I can meet up with my friends and play music and hang out and it’s still really easy for me to forget that we have other people waiting around for stuff now. We recorded all the main bits in a week-and-a-bit long session in July and then we left it alone for a month or so before going back in to the studio sporadically to mess around with it over the next couple of months. We did it with MJ at his studio in Leeds and he plays guitar in the band so it was super laid back and we’d just eat pizza and work on stuff until it was politely suggested that maybe we should have some kind of deadline. You can rework and edit and fuck about with stuff forever and ever and ever unless you have a deadline, right? Because of the way we write, we spent the first few days just having fun blasting through all the crappy demos we’d done at home and figuring out which songs worked well with each other.
What did you try to explore on ‘Ratworld’? Did you have any firm ideas of ground to cover when going into the writing and recording, or was it important to leave the process a bit more fluid?
The hardest bit was choosing the songs to record in order to make a record that flowed really well and moved into slightly different areas sonically or whatever. I’m pretty lucky in that over the past two years I’ve felt super switched on and written and recorded demos of about 80 or 90 songs, but I’m really shitty at choosing them out. We probably left off a couple of stronger songs in order to have an album that was more interesting than just 10 or 12 songs all in a row that were super immediate. A few years ago I would have just chucked all the pop songs on there without a second’s thought but I think being with these guys has toned down my stupid zero attention span idiot brain a little.
You’ve previously released EPs ‘Dream Out’ and ‘Lowtalker’; do you think you’ve built upon what you achieved with those EPs, or is the album going to be more of a progression away from them?
We’ve actually gone back and re-recorded a couple of the old EP songs for the record just because they meant a lot to me, either lyrically or just in terms of being little landmarks of learning to write songs and play guitar. I’ve played in bands for a few years but I’ve always just been the singer or whatever, so this record is kind of a document of that learning curve. This is why I write so much at the moment; because it’s just all so new to me and it’s so so addictive and I just feel like a kid with too much energy and no fear. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner really, but I’m glad I didn’t. I personally think MJ has done an amazing job with the production on the record and it definitely sounds a bit more… I dunno if polished is the right word but it’s less lo-fi sounding than the previous releases. I think that probably comes from some of the tracks being more like actual ‘songs’ so they don’t need to be dressed up with a ton of noise and reverb.
Menace Beach release their debut album ‘Ratworld’ on 19th January through Memphis Industries. The band play the DIY London All-Dayer on 1st November at The Laundry. Flyte and Shy Nature - who are currently on the DIY Presents Tour in Association with PledgeMusic - will be joined by Deers, Jaws, Telegram, Bloody Knees, Blessa and loads more - tickets are on sale now.
To read the full interview with Menace Beach, head over to pledgemusic.com/diy and buy a ticket to the show. Anyone who has already purchased tickets will be able to check out the full feature right away.